September 17, 2019

SEC Chief Accountant Suggests a Mysterious Plan D for IFRS

In remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, SEC Chief Accountant Jim Schnurr floated a fourth, mysterious alternative to use of IFRS in the U.S.

FEI reports:

Schnurr described three possible alternative actions with respect to the use of IFRS by U.S. public companies that have been considered in that past:

  1. “Turning the keys over to the IASB” (the International Accounting Standards Board),
  2. Providing registrants the option to file IFRS financial statements, and
  3. The “condorsement” approach suggested by his predecessor, Paul Beswick, (i.e., in which FASB would endorse new IFRS standards and incorporate them into U.S. GAAP).

“I’m hoping that in the not too distant future I could go public with another possible alternative,” said Schnurr, that “we would like to get feedback on.”

About that fourth alternative… we have no idea what it is.

Thomson Reuters elaborates on the big reveal, which could be weeks or months ahead:

The plan’s details are weeks, if not months away, from being made public, but at this stage they don’t appear to include a provision that would let all U.S. companies have the option to replace U.S. GAAP reporting with IFRS. Judging from the statements SEC Chief Accountant James Schnurr made during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event in Washington on December 3, 2014, the options under consideration have expanded beyond the handful of approaches previously discussed.

“I have spent a fair amount of time over the last eight weeks with my staff looking at this,” Schnurr said. “I am in the process of having dialogues with Chair [Mary Jo] White and some of the other commissioners. I am hoping that in the not too distant future to go public with another possible alternative we would like to get feedback on. All I can say is stay tuned.”

Shall we speculate wildly as to what fourth alternative Schnurr has up his sleeve? Here's a suggestion: let's do financial statements in GAAP but footnotes in IFRS, wouldn't that be a blast?

So, mark your calendars for the third of never. I don't know about you but I can't wait to hear what IFRS surprise the SEC is cooking up this time.

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